Anime World Order Show # 124 – Frozen Should Have Had Gambo Instead of Songs

After two months, we spend a lot of time not talking about anime, read an email about not watching it, and then FINALLY Daryl reviews the new anime anthology Short Peace. We’re out of practice here.

Introduction (0:00 – 45:12)
For roughly the first 13:30 of this introduction, there is more or less zero anime discussion until Daryl brings up that he’s reading through the excellent Anime: A History by Jonathan Clements, who it should be noted is NOT Richard Armitage. It’s an easy mistake to make, we know. We then read an email about a tale that’s played out all too often over the years: the phenomenon that is “otaku expiration” by way of a letter from one who died at the age of 17. In place of said dead velveteen otaku is A REAL BOY. Wait, we just mixed up children’s stories.

Review: Short Peace (45:12 – 1:22:00)
Daryl reviews the new anthology collection released last year. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, since one of the segments was nominated for an Oscar this year along with some other Japanese dude’s cartoon. We understand based on a webcomic we saw that other guy whose film was nominated for an Oscar loves to smile and make merchandise and robots and totally did not write this book or this book. Short Peace will be released by Sentai Filmworks soon, and we can only hope that they translate the commentary track on this thing because boy howdy, we sure would’ve loved to have known what they said BEFORE doing this review.

  • We reviewed Freedom Project back in Show 66. Despite this being Show 124, that episode was about six years ago…
  • As further proof that he sucks, the short which Daryl declared the weakest was actually the one that won the rarely-awarded Noboru Ofuji prize. We discussed how difficult it is to win that back when we reviewed Mind Game.
  • Show 96 about Redline, 30 episodes after the 2008 episode linked above, happened three years later. We probably briefly mentioned Katsuhito Ishii at some point.
  • Despite being only one standard American comicbook in length, Farewell to Weapons has been out of print for decades so comicbook sellers are charging a lot for it. Hopefully Kodansha will reprint it.
  • What’s far more affordable is the revised edition of Matt Alt’s Yokai Attack. If you read that, then you’d understand that THE RULES were indeed followed.

Closing (1:22:00 – 1:24:10)
We’re going to have to review a Shinji Aramaki CG movie next time, aren’t we. AREN’T WE?! In the meantime between now and then, do check out the new issue of Otaku USA. Daryl wrote articles on Kill La Kill, Robot Girls Z, and the manga editions of Space Brothers as well as Summer Wars. There’s also Carl Horn’s Royal Space 25th Anniversary Fanzine, featuring articles by Gerald and other people who aren’t Gerald. “Fanzine” is a misnomer for this thing, seeing as it’s got better layout, design, binding, paper quality etc than most professional publications.

23 Replies to “Anime World Order Show # 124 – Frozen Should Have Had Gambo Instead of Songs”

  1. [Please use proper paragraphs, capitalization, spelling, punctuation etc. I always have to clean these up. –Daryl]

    Ah the good ol’ question about outgrowing anime. I’ll say my 0.5€ worth of it. I think that outgrowing anime is a natural thing, and to cling to anime even when in your 40s, 50s and beyond is unnatural. The reason is very simple: anime, contrary to manga, has always been centered on two specific demographics. It is tailored to young and/or young adult viewers. Anime has never been able to “grow up,” so to speak. Yeah yeah, from time to time we see some animation films that break the mold, but they are few and far between. They do not represent what anime really is.

    Manga, in this sense, is much more eclectic. Its themes span from things that are of interest to young readers, high school kids, young adults, and mature men (salary men). Manga in its cultural vastness appeals to all. It has something for everyone. So it’s very difficult to outgrow a passion for manga. Not so for anime. This inability to somehow expand beyond its limited boundaries is what makes anime a “flash in the pan” phenomenon. People are attracted to anime in a certain phase of their lives. Then they grow up and need new stimuli, new interests. Anime is simply incapable of delivering that, and I don’t think the situation is destined to change anytime soon.

    Think about why so many legends of anime of yesteryear prefer to abandon anime and concentrate on real life productions. Mamoru Oshii, for instance, isn’t interested in anime anymore. Why? Why does he prefer to work on a Patlabor live action instead of an anime? And he’s not the only one preferring to go the live action/CG film route nowadays. This has got to get us thinking. I think it was Hiroyuki Yamaga that said that he was interested in making Royal Space Force as a way to show what animation could be like: a grown up version of anime. His expectation, almost 30 years later, has not been met. Anime is still a product for young men/women. It’s the eternal teenager.

  2. I’m a 21-year-old who’s been watching anime for about seven years now and so far I haven’t faced any burnout. It might have something to do with a year-long conscription where I watched very little anime (just the first Hayate no Gotoku series and three seasons of Major), but I like to believe it’s more due to the variety of anime I consume. Thanks to people like AWO, my interest has been piqued by all sorts of works including 70s shoujo (Rose of Versailles, Aim for the Ace), crazy one-shot OVAs (California Crisis, Baoh) and high-brow artistic endeavors one could write whole theses on (Angel’s Egg, Mad Bull 34). 2013, for example, was the Year of Sunrise for me, as I went through massive amounts of UC Gundam, VOTOMS and other robot anime produced by the much-beloved studio.

    (Speaking of Sunrise, you guys should do a review of Metal Armor Dragonar someday. It’s like a slightly less retarded version of ZZ Gundam.)

    Perhaps this is just the arrogance of a relatively new fan speaking, but I recommend every weary anime hobbyist to bravely check out strange and unfamiliar titles on a whim. A while ago I watched a slightly creepy-looking OVA called Yuri Seijin Naoko-san that turned out to be a hilarious, insanely well-animated comedy with a hauntingly beautiful ending sequence. Truth be told, it could still be called creepy at times, but most people should be able to laugh about that aspect of the OVA.

    Speaking of Samurai Flamenco, I feel that this SPOILER-FILLED picture is the most accurate description of the show and the emotions its audience go through every single week. [It was a rollercoaster car descending amidst a backdrop of moments throughout the series –Daryl]

  3. An interesting letter that. The whole burnout issue. I pretty much come from it the other way. I’m an adult who about 2 years ago I came to anime due to burnout on a lifetime of superheroes (be it comics, TV or film). I never really was an anime watcher as a child (sure I watched some shows like Battletech [probably mean “Robotech” –Daryl] and such, but that was about it).

    With streaming services such as Crunchyroll, Netflix and Hulu offering anime a-plenty, I saw this as a nice break during my burnout phase. I figured it would be a few month sojourn and then I’d be back. But that hasn’t happened…instead I continue to consume anime and now also have gotten into both manga and light novels.

    The commentary on dealing with a media hobby if you aren’t into the popular thing was kind of interesting too. I can’t say I really feel that with anime (certainly I have no interest in KLK, Space Dandy or Samurai Flamenco and don’t feel bad about it). Maybe it’s just the communities I hang in, but no matter what I find myself into (be in current or old) there seems to be folks about that we can have nice discussions of such things. It’s really not that different from US comics in that respect.

  4. Cobra, you write: “to cling to anime even when in your 40s, 50s and beyond is unnatural”

    Well I guess that describes me. I’ll be retiring with my full Social Security check in 3 years. I was almost 40 when the first subtitled anime releases started coming out. I did know about anime but only watched what few re-dubs hit the local arthouse theater and the unsubbed 3+ generation VHS tapes at the local anime club.

    What I don’t do is watch the latest hottest titles. I have far too many discs I have not seen or taken notes on to have time for that.

    I also do read a great deal of manga, and am very pleased that more seinen and josei manga is coming out these days. As I commute by bus to work I am able to either read or listen to podcasts depending on my choice for the day.

    I do have to confess to owning a large collection of books on Japanese culture that go beyond just tomes on anime and manga. I consider every aspect of Japanese society I see in anime, manga,movies and on Japanese shows (we have Japanese stations here in California) as something to track down and learn about.

    I may be unnatural but I’m still greatly enjoying anime. I’m still having a blast after all these years.

    1. A pleasant surprise to see your name here, Mr Poitras. Your book, Anime Essentials served as a guidepost for me in the early days of my fandom, when anime became something more accessible, and not merely the random VHS copies of Devil Hunter Yohko and such found in my local Blockbuster. I still have my copy of that book, as well as your other well known source book, the Anime Companion. You also directed me towards the excellent, and still a favorite, Otaku no Video.

      I’d like to take this rare chance to thank you for providing me with a deeper understanding of the medium when I was just a neophyte to this culture. I hope you are personally doing well in health and life these days.

      Happy watching, and well wishes good sir!

  5. I see the pre-watch dread has already settled over the CG Captain Harlock movie like a pregnant storm cloud. Having watched it twice (once in theater once on BR), I can promise you two things: (1) It strays no farther from the imagined mythos (it’s entirely subjective) than any other version. (2) If you don’t like the CG look, you’re never going to get past it.

    I went in wanting to watch a version of Harlock I hadn’t already seen and it gave me exactly that. I can’t comment on the story since I haven’t yet seen it subbed, but it is chock full of Matsumoto melodrama. This too is something you’re never going to get past if you dislike it from the outset.

    Short version: if you’re not a fan already, this movie will not make you one. Respond accordingly.

    1. The Harlock CG movie is really for fans of Matsumoto. It’s no secret the film was a big big big success in Italy. Maybe moreso than in Japan and it’s quite something.
      Harlock together with Grendizer are 2 of the most beloved cultural icons in Italy/France.

      I think it was AWO that once defined The Arcadia of my Youth as being an old Japanese man’s film for old Japanese men. That’s Matsumoto for you. I love Matsumoto’s series, and this film is right up his alley. I nonetheless wish it had been a live action instead of CG because the shots are too similar to Starship Troopers Invasion.

  6. I want to point out Daryl, sales of Gunpla at Barnes and Noble stores have been going on for months now. I saw them on their own shelf back during this last Christmas and they had some models in a glass case. It gave me this feeling of happiness I haven’t had since I saw Gunpla in stores, and were talking about 2005 or so. All they had was Ver Ka Gundam Wing Master Grades and some Unicorn stuff. I picked up a few of these SD Gundam figures for like 6 bucks a piece, because hey, its Gundam.

    As for this whole anime burn out thing: Gerald makes a good point, its better to go at anime slow if people are still interested in it from being burnt out of it a while ago. I treated anime as a fad when I was 14 with the stuff that was on Toonami in 2000 and before, but I got to a point where I wanted to get out of anime and got tired of it, which prompted me to miss out on Outlaw Star and Big O at the time. It was actually Gundam that got me back in 9 months later when my freshman year of high school started, and some cool friends that I am still in contact to this day. It was Gundam 08th MS Team on Toonami that summer that got me back into it, slowly but gradually; which lead to me watching what came on Adult Swim at the time (we all know Cowboy Bebop if were talking the Fall of 2001 for late night american TV) and beyond.

    It was once I got outta high school is when I felt that I went “beyond the point of no return.” There is also that age thing where people feel the need they get to a certain point to talk about what they like, and podcasting/blogging is a good way of doing that, which is what I do if you click on my name. How I view anime is by going “into the past,” because most of interest and what I like now at my age seem to be in the 80’s and 90’s, and I can’t help but to look at that time line because I come up with more good than bad on what was made. I am 3 episodes from finishing Giant Gorg, and my god its a great show.

    I find it really pointless to try and cover and watch every anime in every season, because that is way to herculean of a task for me with where I am at in life and with the time I have to use on anime. I am probably missing out on half the shows in the past few years that are considered “good,” but I know I will get around to watching them eventually. But for the time being, I am in no rush to get there.

    Wow, I spoke a lot more than I thought, sorry about that.

  7. You guys said some good stuff in this podcast, especially Gerald. I wish I had heard this when I was a senior. The only burnout I’ve experienced with entertainment has been video games (mainly JRPGs) my senior year of high school. I owned a bunch I hadn’t finished, and I started worrying if I’d ever finish them all. I tried devising a schedule on how I’d play through ’em, but that didn’t last. Despite how most of what I watch and read are anime and manga, I never really identified myself as heavily with them as video games. I guess I did that due to my immense suckitude at sports when I was younger; I later learned I was pretty good at powerlifitng, but the only sports they have at the elementary and middle school levels all involve running, great reflexes, balance, and hand-eye coordination. Quitting worrying was the best thing I ever did; I still play video games almost every day, but I just play what I feel like.

    Speaking of which, I wish powerlifting was bigger in Japan; a manga about it would be pretty nifty.

  8. Did I hear Daryl say that you couldn’t watch Gundam Build Fighters anywhere legally? GundamInfo’s Youtube channel is free and legal:

    Daryl, if I misheard you, pay this no mind. [Nah, you didn’t mishear me; I misspoke. I meant to say they’re selling merchandise for something we can’t watch *on TV*. –Daryl]

    Great shows guys! Will keep a look out for Short Peace.

  9. I haven’t seen Short Peace yet. I didn’t know it was available, but after hearing that review I’m seeking it now! I have, however, seen The Wind Rises three times. I love the film, and as an engineer it’s super inspiring! I’d like to here what you guys think of it.

  10. If you’re suffering burnout that means your North Star isn’t burning bright enough. Watch twice as much anime as you used to to alleviate these symtoms symptoms. Golgo 13 or Hokuto no Ken marathons are great medications for these ailments. Anime is for real Rock’an Rolla’s.

  11. I watched Short Peace after reading about the review and then I listened to the podcast. I had no idea Combustible and Possessions were part of this compilation. I knew about Possessions because it was an Oscar nominee and I knew about Combustible because it won the two most important awards of Japanese animation: the Noburo Ofuji prize and the Grand Award of the Japan Media Arts Festival.

  12. I blind-bought Short Peace and it arrived last month with the Blu-ray of Millennium Actress (which, BTW, I hope to hear a review of someday from one of you), but I never got around to watching it until I saw what Show # 124’s review was about. I agree that “Gambo” and “Farewell to Weapons” were the best segments and “Combustible” was the worst, although it was visually interesting.

  13. Thank you for making me pick Short Peace, Farewell to Arms is the best demonstration of how to use modern technology in a small group combat that I’ve seen recently. And Gambo, yeah… The love-and-fire story was also something I never expected to encounter, art style-wise.

  14. Thank you for your endorsement of the Royal Space Force 25th Anniversary Zine. Pretty much everything Gerald wrote about in his article for the zine was new to me–I had focused on the top staff so much that I hadn’t realized the many prestigious future names that were also among the “lesser” animators.

    After your review of Short Peace, I’m really looking forward to seeing it. Daryl, I may not have understood you correctly, but I thought I heard you mention that the English version of “A Farewell to Weapons” was published in some independent form by Marvel/Epic, presumably back when they were releasing AKIRA. The reason I ask is that I’m only familiar with the version of that story which appeared in the bilingual edition of KABA (it also included a photo essay on the diorama). Otomo, by the way, still does the occasional commercial illustration, and remains very good at it. Whatever one thinks of his post-AKIRA work (I personally didn’t have a problem with “Cannon Fodder,” perhaps because it was a short film and I was therefore able to accept it as an experimental work rather than “not being AKIRA”) the issue is certainly not a decline in drawing ability.

    It may actually be easier now than it was decades ago for a foreign fan to burn out on anime, simply because so much more anime is readily available. In 2014, with digital streaming, a fan can literally (if they have the free time, and some do) in the course of a single day keep up with 10, 20, even 30 different shows. To do that in the 80s and 90s was theoretically possible (Haruka Takachiho claimed to have literally seen all the anime that were on TV in 1995-96, which is why he felt qualified to say Evangelion was not the best show that year) but it required either renting a thigh-high stack each week of off-air recordings, or a personal infrastructure of multiple VCRs (to record shows airing at conflicting times) and/or an extensive set of contacts to mail copies of episodes.

    More realistic, especially for a foreign fan, was to keep up with maybe six or seven different anime, and that too required logistics and effort. I want to emphasize that the shows themselves weren’t necessarily any better than today’s anime; it wasn’t so much that they were “worth all the effort” it took to see them. The effort was just what you had to do, because there was no alternative method–you had to go to a club meeting, you had to go to a Japantown rental store, you had to wait for tapes in the mail. What all these things have in common is travel; the anime (in the form of a videotape) had to either physically travel to you, or you to it.

    Again, it hardly made the otaku of those days “the greatest generation”–it was just a necessity. But it might sometimes have had the side effect of slowing the burn-out process by moderating your consumption of anime. I say “sometimes,” because I know it also could have the opposite effect–fans might get tired eventually of having to commute to a store, spend postage, or go to a creep-ass club just to see a few hours of anime that might not be all that great.

    1. I did in fact note up in the show notes that Epic Comics released a colorized version of Farewell to Weapons back in April of 1992. The Amazon link where people are wanting $40-$50 for 33 pages of manga it is linked above.

      Now that I’ve done this review, it looks like Short Peace will be getting its limited nationwide theatrical run after all. It’ll start hitting theaters on April 18th, mostly in one night only engagements, but we can all get some practice tracking down that small theater willing to show foreign Asian cinema the week prior since The Raid 2 goes into wide release on April 11th.

      1. Dear Daryl,

        (Ayumu Kasuga voice, terrified, speaking to Chiyo-dad) “Aimu sariii…!” I should have read the show notes more carefully. But the link is interesting. I remember the stand-alone Memories comic Epic did, but I’ve literally never seen that Farewell to Weapons book, and I made a habit of checking for manga at comics shops. The Amazon review has the comment “it was also a freebie back when the teen male magazine ‘DIRT’ was published in 1992.” Maybe it was mainly done as a promotional item? KABA came out before then, so it might have occurred to Epic they had this already-adapted standalone manga they could re-purpose for another use.

        I may be out of town when Short Peace comes to Portland, but otherwise I’ll definitely be there. While I miss the days when an anime film might get a multi-day booking in a foreign or indie theater, maybe it’s better business to do one night only, but get a packed house. By the way, are you happening to come to Sakura-Con this year?

  15. While I ain’t out here to defend Hulu’s not great name, the one thing that Hulu has over Netflix is that they have the Criterion Collection. Which, for film buffs or film studies students, is awesome. Whenever your professor assigns you some obscure but notorious (among film theorists) European films, or even classic Japanese films, it is a good place to look for those sorts of films that even Netflix doesn’t stream. While you probably can’t find the super obscure films that were really only shown at refugee camps and personally-run film screenings made by Japanese anarchists and would-be revolutionaries (the real motherfuckers who spent 2 decades in Palestine fighting for the Palestinian people), you can find a lot of the crazy European auteur shit like Akerman and Godard that got play in art houses and stuff.

  16. Another case of Gerald’s whininess. No, Cannon Fodder, wasn’t just a technical experiment. You assume too much.

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